Sunday, 9 February 2014

Book Review: Jean Genet in Tangier

Jean Genet en TángerJean Genet en Tánger by Mohamed Chukri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this in the Spanish edition by the excellent small press Cabaret Voltaire, which has translated many Moroccan authors. Since all my Goodreads friends and blog readers speak English as a first or second language, I'll review it in English and point my readers to the English edition titled Jean Genet in Tangier, translated by Paul Bowles.

Chukri was a Moroccan author who befriended many of the famous expats in Tangier's glory days as the International Zone. Here we meet Jean Genet, author of Diary Of A Thief and many other works. Chukri and Genet hit it off because they both came from the streets and wrote candid memoirs about it.

The scenes from famous meeting places such as Cafe Central make for fun reading for those who have been to Tangier, and we learn some interesting background about both authors and their literary and social views.

Sadly, this book is a bit thin on the ground. It's only 80 pages and many of the conversations are somewhat superficial. It's worth the money for glimpses of two famous authors, and for its vignettes of Tangier 50 years ago, but remains of interests to specialists only.


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3 comments:

LuAnn Braley said...

New follower from the #AtoZChallenge!

Very happy to see reviews/mentions on your site for books not in the mainstream. WTG!

Susan Scott said...

Thanks Sean; nice to have a succinct review. I am not familiar with the author ..
will check more of yr reviews at a later stage.

Sean McLachlan said...

Yeah, sometimes I think I should read more mainstream books. But then I keep getting pulled back to the odd ones. . .

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.